NORWAY — “You can see, it’s pretty rough,” Michelle Williams said days after she and her husband, Vincent, were handed the keys and ownership of the Inn Town Motel on Paris Street.

“We’re not taking down walls, but we’re painting, ripping out floors,” she said.

Vincent, left, and Michelle Williams have big plans for the Inn Town Motel, which will be renamed the Norway Inn. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Indeed, the 28-unit motel has long been an unsavory landmark and woefully neglected by previous absentee owners. But the couple, who estimate they’ve fixed up and sold at least 100 houses in Maine and Florida, are not afraid of hard and dirty work.

“My plan is that in at least a couple of the rooms we’ll put in a waterproof laminate floor so we can at least have some pet-friendly rooms,” she said. “I saw a sign that indicated they were not pet-friendly before. But we have two dogs so how can we not be pet-friendly?”

And with that statement, the Williams are ushering the Inn Town Motel into a new era. As truckload after truckload takes away old furniture, mattresses and linens, the question remains, what made the couple decide to buy such a place?

“Oh, hmm, the price?” Michelle Williams said with a laugh. “Well, that’s the wrong answer. But we flip houses for a living. We’ve been landlords in the past, too. Our plan was to buy a campground, which fell through.

“And then this motel came up on our radar,” she said

The Williamses learned about it in a real estate auction e-newletter from Tranzon Auction Properties in Portland. Curious, they drove from their Bridgton home to take a look.

“We decided it might make an interesting project and asked if it would be possible to put in an offer before the auction,” she said. “They said we could, so we did and it was accepted.”

“There were a lot of people interested in it,” Vincent Williams said.

Cleaning out a rundown motel is not a job for just anyone. Supplied photo

The year 2020 was rough for the motel, with or without a pandemic. One guest and his more than 50 arachnids – tarantulas, scorpions among others – were evicted after the creatures were discovered to be secretly residing in his room last summer.

By August one of the motel’s two buildings was closed after being infested by bed bugs. Then the second building was shut down after Norway Code Enforcement Officer Scott Taub discovered an electrical issue in one room. By the end of the year the entire place closed for good.

Just a few days after becoming the owners, the couple are in it up to their elbows. Portable air conditioners are out, along with the furniture and bedding.

The first order of business is to rehabilitate building two, which is newer and in better shape.

“We don’t have a projected date, but we will be able to open that up for business first,” Michelle Williams said. “And we plan to live here ourselves, in building one. We’re enlarging the manager’s quarters for ourselves.

“We going to spruce this place up and change the name to the Norway Inn,” she said. “We definitely want to get rid of the vibe of what it was, with long-term and subsidized rentals.”

“We’re going back to what it was meant for, for travelers,” Vincent Williams said.

The Williamses have met with Taub, Fire Chief Dennis Yates and Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Fox, and made their first introductory presentation to the Norway Planning Board last week.

Besides a new name and new look, the Williams plan other improvements for the motel.

A scratchy patch of grass-less yard will become a pet exercise pen with astro-turf and pet accessories. They will add an electric vehicle charging station to accommodate guests who need to recharge their cars. And down the road, they visualize solar panels lining the south-facing roof of each building.

To furnish and redecorate, Michelle Williams plans to shop from brokers who specialize in reselling contents from metropolitan, five-star hotels. So in addition to filling the motel’s 28 rooms with upscale furnishings, they are doing their part to maintain a smart environmental footprint.

“We don’t know when we will be fully open,” Vincent Williams said. “But we plan to hold an open house once we’ve pulled it off. We want to show the community what this motel will be.”

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